SULLIVAN'S Landscaping of Alexandria, VA.
SULLIVAN'S Landscaping of Alexandria, VA. SULLIVAN'S Landscaping of Alexandria, VA.
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My New Course
Bill will be teaching his new course, "Practical Landscape Design" at both the Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) and the City of Alexandria Adult & Community Education Program in 2010. I hope to see you there!

Below is the class syllabus:

Class 1 – The BASICS of PLANTS

  • Shopping for Plants at the Nursery (how to read a plant tag)
  • Plant Classification – Carl Linnaeus (Swedish botanist) – Latin nomenclature
  • How do Plants Live (photosynthesis) & why do they die?
  • Pollination (natural, cross, self)
  • Water & Water Zoning
  • Mulching (pluses & minuses & the different types)
  • Pruning (why, when, how?)
  • Soil (pH)
  • Fertilizing (there a need?)
  • Invasive Plants (how are they recognized?)
  • Composting (the hows & whys)
  • Root Ball: (what about the burlap wrap, rope & metal cage?)
  • Bulb Foliage (prune, remove, tie or leave?)
  • Purpose of a Garden (theme...all-year interest... specimen variety … depth of field...height differential. ..evergreens/blues/yellows ...deciduous...low or high
  • Mistletoe (for fun)

(CD presentation)

  • Trees (flowering, evergreen, deciduous, dwarf & fruit-bearing)
  • Shrubs
  • Christmas Tree (pine, spruce, fir, holly, juniper)
  • Parts of a Plant (How do identify the many types)

Class 3 – HERBACEOUS (non-woody) SPECIMENS
(CD presentation)

  1. Ground Cover (flowering, evergreen, variegated, fruit-bearing, fragrant)
  2. Perennials (spring, summer, shade, sun, fragrant)
  3. Annuals (sun, shade)
  4. Herbs (edible, non-edible, fragrant, flowering)
  5. Vines (those that flower, fruit, smell & the evergreen/deciduous types)
  6. Vegetables

(getting your hands & knees dirty)

  1. HOW to prepare the hole in the ground?
  2. Plant Hardiness Zone (ours’ is 6b-7). Why is this important?
  3. Soil (what exists and what to do?)
  4. Nutrients (macro vs. micro)…N-P-K…organic fertilizers…mulches
  5. Culture(sun, shade, partial shade, wind, pollination, canopy, nearby buildings)
  6. Drainage(wet feet, sloped, soil make-up)
  7. Twelve-month interest (evergreen, fruit, variegation, bark, spent flowers, variation in height, width and leaf texture)
  8. Interference (animal urine/tread...pedestrian use...vehicle emissions)
  9. Remember Water Zoning (saves water, plants & time and prevents erosion)

Class 5: LANDSCAPE DESIGN  (Part 1)

  1. Spatial Situation (height, width, depth of field, slope)
  2. Existing Elements (windows, shutters, doors (type), steps (brick or cement), awning, downspouts, brick, stone or vinyl wall of house, pathway from steps to driveway?, nearby the neighbor's property including driveway...condominium restrictions)
  3. Twelve-month interest (evergreen, fruit, variegation, bark, spent flowers, variation in height, width and leaf texture)
  4. Driveway (bordering, masking aggregate edges, pollution/tire tread tolerant)
  5. Containers/Flower boxes under windows/
  6. Perennial (rock garden, wildflower, raised bed)
  7. Xeriscape (Cactus, Yucca)
  8. Gardens for the Blind (moving water, plants that “whisper,” presence of birds)
  9. Bonsai

Class 6 – LANDSCAPE DESIGN  (Part 2)

  1. Low-Maintenance
  2. Raised Bed (for elderly, those with bad knees, backs…for existing poor drainage)
  3. Privacy Screens (noise, views, pollution, sun)
  4. Containers
  5. Hardscapes (brick…stone...gravel)
  6. Ponds (Lotus, Lily, Cat o’nine tail)
  7. Attracting Birds and Butterflies
  8. English Garden
  9. Gardens for the Blind & those with Neuropathy

(remember, “No Maintenance” is an oxymoron)

  1. Landscaping by the Calendar: What to do when?
  2. Pruning: (when, how, why...what about sap flow?...benefit of pollarding)
  3. Mulches: types, purposes (keep roots warm in winter and cool in summer... prevent erosion...aesthetics...retard a trench, it becomes a border/outline...prevents water evaporation from the's organic make-up serves as nutrients for the root zone)...too much is added maintenance
  4. Composting: Organic vs. non-organic
  5. Fertilizing (N-P-K...peat...soil conditioner...topsoil...pine needles...acid)
  6. Transplanting (to a different culture, soil space...when not to)
  7. Deadheading (why and why not)
  8. Separating/Dividing (Liriope, Hosta, Lecouthoe, Heather, Bulbs)
  9. Watering in Winter (why, how often, when)
  10. Replacement (Now what?) (age, disease, insufficient/excessive water, insufficient/excessive sunlight, pollution, storms & negative attitudes :-))


  1. Arctic Circle meltdown (warms temperatures in North America affects bloom times)
  2. The Carbon Footprint (greenhouse gas, fossil fuel, emissions)
  3. Alternative Energy (solar, plant (ethanol), hydrogen, wind)
  4. Rooftop gardens (insulation)
  5. Corrective Measures (recycling...hybrid vehicles...tree planting for shading & heating...composting bio-degradable driving measures...vegetarian lifestyles since meat production consumes land mass and energy use)
  6. Invasive Plants (Lysimachia clethroides (Goose neck Loosestrife), Euonymus alatus (Burning Bush), Hedera (English Ivy), Phyllostachys aurea (Timber Bamboo), Ampelopsis brevipendunculata (Porcelain Berry), Euonymus fortune (Winter Creeper Euonymus)
  7. Diseases/Pests (airborne, soil borne, plant borne...epidemics...problems in our zone)
  8. Causes (moisture, stagnant atmosphere, excess/lack of water, watering at wrong times)
  9. Prevention/Treatment (horticultural oils … pesticide … replacement … transplanting)
  10. Allergens (pollen...ragweed...poison oak, ivy & sumac...Juniper rash...toxins from plant appendages such as Berberis, Pyracantha & Hawthorn)
For the City of Alexandria Registration, call 703.824.6845 or visit the Adult Education Office at T.C. Williams High School, 3300 King St. Alexandria, Va. 22302. The course number is 10W-CE52.

For NVCC Registration, click on this link. Once there, look under "Continuing Education Courses" and click "Spring 2010 Courses." Then under "Personal Enrichment" click "Practical Landscape Design" and sign up.



Sullivan’s Landscaping, Inc.
Alexandria, Va.